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Statistics LibreTexts

20.10: SAT and College GPA

Skills to Develop

  • Predicting college GPA from high school scores


Research conducted by

Thomas W. MacFarland

Case study prepared by

Emily Zitek


When deciding whether to admit an applicant, colleges take lots of factors, such as grades, sports, activities, leadership positions, awards, teacher recommendations, and test scores, into consideration. Using SAT scores as a basis of whether to admit a student or not has created some controversy. Among other things, people question whether the SATs are fair and whether they predict college performance.

This study examines the SAT and GPA information of \(105\) students who graduated from a state university with a B.S. in computer science. Using the grades and test scores from high school, can you predict a student's college grades?

Questions to Answer

Can the math and verbal SAT scores be used to predict college GPA? Are the high school and college GPAs related? 

Design Issues

The conclusions from this study should not be generalized to students of other majors. 

Descriptions of Variables

Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Description of Variables

Variable Description
high_GPA High school grade point average
math_SAT Math SAT score
verb_SAT Verbal SAT score
comp_GPA Computer science grade point average
univ_GPA Overall university grade point average

Data Files



  • None


  • Online Statistics Education: A Multimedia Course of Study ( Project Leader: David M. Lane, Rice University.